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Doug Tanoury

 

 

 The Moses Soliloquy


And it began in the wilderness
With a voice calling out to me in the night
Calling me by name from a bramble
For that is all that grows there
It was as if it was consumed in flame
For it was lighting the darkness

And I have come to know the voice
As the Lord I Am who charged me
And laid this mission on me
To lead the tribes of his people Israel
But I was afraid and told him so
To let him find another but he would not

I am changed somehow by this task
I no longer am the man I once was
But somehow I am uplifted
By the tasks the lord has asked
As if I have climbed a lofty mountain
And have left the normal world

I am transformed by what I do
And no longer watch the flocks
In the night and no longer do
The bidding of Pharaoh and his court and
For all the wonders the Lord has done
This change is the most miraculous

For what I am has asked I have done
When his said extend your hand
My hand was extended and
When he said raise your rod
It was raised and Pharaoh and his
Magicians were confounded

As I now am confounded by
The workings of my God
Who rains meat for our pots
And grows bread for our table
And pours water from the dry
Stone of the desert at my command.
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A Slaves Life


They say go and I go
They say do this and I do it
They say gather and I gather
They say sow and I sow
For I am but a common slave and
They a cruel and capricious master

Who cares nothing if I live or die
For my daughters are like sheep and goats
And my sons like camels and oxen
All my children in the fields
Are bent by this burden
And bear the rod of the taskmaster

And at night by the fires
Amid the smoke from the smoldering pots
I pray to the Lord who is my freedom
And my deliverance
Whose reach is greater than the Nile
And whose bounty flows more freely
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Blue & Purple & Scarlet Stuff
 

And I know this for I have seen the fabric
On the shoulders of kings and their young sons
Cut and stitched and fit and formed
Crafted by the fingers of old women
With poor eyes that must hold the garment
To their noses to see their work

It is the colors of indigo and lapis
Topaz and garnet for I have seen the fabric
In the tunics of Phoenician princes
And in the capes of the captains of the Hittite hoards
The blues of royal hue in linen finely woven
Entwined and twisted

And in the embroidered pomegranates
That rest ripe on the hems of the garments
Of Aaron and his priests as they tend the Arc
Just after sunset under a sky that covers the desert
Like a cloak made with blue and purple
And scarlet stuff
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Burnt Offering
 

And it is with great haste
I come to her from the altar
Fresh from the sacrifice of atonement
Still in priestly robes
Splattered with ram's blood
My face smudged with ashes
 
When my robes fall away
I wear only the smell of olive oil
And incense before her and
She wears only a perfume
As our scents mingle and our
Fragrances intertwine

And our clothes left lying
In heaps on the floor
Are the skins shed by serpents
And the discarded shells of insects
That are cast off when
They take on new forms
____________________________________________

Cherubim Skillfully Worked
 

And it is the artisans and craftsmen that fashion the
Arc and the altar and all the linens of the tent of meeting
And the finely woven vestments of Aaron and his priests
Those that work with precious stones and metals
Sculpt and shape two Cherubim that looking toward each other
With faces like the sunrise on the sea and wings spread wide
And sheltering forming a canopy over the arc of testimony

And it is art that gives glory to God and the craftsman's
Hand and the artisan eye that honor Him for these
Are the works and the builders of his dwelling
Among His people Israel and as priests chant prayers
And prophets recite the law and the craftsmen shape
It is the poet's song that rises like a mist on the mountain
In the morning their voices raised aloft on the melody of lute and lyre
____________________________________________
 
Favor In My Sight
 

They sat that Moses found such favor
That God knew him by name and when they met
It was face to face and when they talked
It was like as two friends

He talked often of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
As if every word spoken between them were craven in stone
And He remembered His promises
As if they were made just today

And I have often wondered
That if I like Moses met the Lord what I would say
But I have come to reflect much more now
On what words He might speak to me

Would He recall His talks with Moses
And remember the face of Pharaoh or experience them
As if in present time for tense has no meaning
For that which stands outside of time

For He Led the twelve tribes of Israel
Through the wilderness moments ago
And in the tent of meeting He speaks
To Moses at this moment

And now too in God is parting the curtains
Of blue and purple and scarlet stuff to watch the sun setting
Beyond the mountain and both He and Moses
Marvel at a desert sunset

And I know too that if I met the Lord
Like Moses I would hang on His every word
As if they were raindrops in the desert
And I would whisper only one thing to him

remember me
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Up on Sinai
 

And I have answered His call
Been His prophet and been His slave
His will has been my will
And my mouth a holy tabernacle
For His words

Upon the mountain top
Beyond the thunder and lightning
Above the flames and smoke
God speaks to me in a low whisper
Carried on the slightest breeze

His voice is soft like the
Sound of waves on the Nile at night
And His words hushed like the flutter
Of dove's wings and as quiet as raindrops
Striking the surface of the sea

And I am brought high on Sinai
Upon the mountain top
To hear the Lord speak
With the low notes of music
From a lute and lyre
____________________________________________
 
Molten Calf
 

This is the god of lawlessness
A god of wantonness
And animal appetites
It a god of body and hunger
Of longing and wanting

That is my comfort
In these wild places and my banner
And standard in the battles
For I have grown weary and restless
In the shadow of this mountain

A god of singing and drinking
Of eating and dancing
A god of lewdness and wild gestures
Of revelry and release
In this desert place

And awaken my heart to the
Worship of the whim and
The adoration of the urge
In a wasteland so barren
In a world empty of God
____________________________________________
 
The Finger Of God
 

And the two tablets
Scribed with the law and
Written by the finger of God
His word captured in the stone
Were cast down and broken
At the mountain's base

And I am moved
By a message from God
Shattered and in pieces at our feet
Of covenants unkept and
Testaments unmet here
In the shadow of Sinai

And I have not seen God's face
Only his finger as he wrote
His presence fire on the mountain
A flickering and a flame
That melts an icy heart
In the company of the Lord
____________________________________________
 
The Pharaoh of My Past
 

I was enslaved
In the Egypt of you
By one whose heart
Was hard like a brick
And whose will was my burden
 
And how I have come
To be free is a story of a journey
Through a desert
Across a sea
And up the tallest mountain

I was your slave
And a victim of a will so harsh
It would not bend before
The voice of God
Until He took your son

So this song celebrates
And these words now sing
To Pharos's dead son
Who bought my freedom
And freed me from the Egypt of you
____________________________________________
 
The Red Sea Between Us
 

And something has allowed me
To get from there to here
Some miracle of passage
Some magic that has parted the sea
Between us and carved a dry path
From among the waves and formed
A wall of water on my right
And on my left

And the power of Pharaoh behind me
Is washed away and I Am has delivered me
On this distant shore
My old life fades from memory
Like a dream that is only half-remembered
And seems unreal and somehow
Unattached from me as if I were born anew
This very moment
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